Prince William News
Tue., Feb. 19 - bd-fp-mp-wrestlers-capture-state-gold
BD, FP, MP wrestlers capture state gold
© Gainesville TimesOf the 31 wrestlers from the greater Prince William County area that competed in state championships this past weekend, seven came home champions.
Forest Park brought home three individual titles from the Group AAA tournament Chesapeake, Brentsville District won two Group AA golds and Manassas Park captured a pair as well in the Group A final.
Both of the latter tournaments were held at the Salem Civic Center in Salem.
Forest Park's Tommy Aloi cruised through his first two matches, running up a pin in the first period of his intro match and following suite with another pin in the second period of the second record.
Even without winning by fall, Aloi still managed a perfect shutout against Robinson in the semi-finals, racking up an 11 to 0 major decision.
The top seed out of the Northwest Region finally ran into an actual competition in the championship as expected against Colonial Forge, but even then, he allowed only one point against him on an escape en route to a 5-1 victory.
His teammate Dennis Gustafson followed up in the 132-pound class by taking control for the entire match against against Great Bridge in the finals.
Gustafson nursed a 2 to 0 lead through most of the second period until he faked a sliding grab to the right leg of opponent Eric Merriam before dragging him in, spinning behind his back and pulling him chest-first to the mat.
Like Aloi, the only points Gustafson gave up came on escapes as he won 9-3.
Brett Stein rounded out the trifecta for Forest Park by claiming the 170-pound title over Cole DePasquale of Robinson.
He earned a take-down in the first period to build a 2 to 0 lead and only gave up two escapes as part of his 5 to 2 win.
After the referee held his arm up to declare Stein the winner, the senior lunged into his coach's arms on the sidelines.
The tournament marked redemption for two Forest Park wrestlers that came up short at states last year. Aloi lost against Osbourn Park's Sean Badua in the finals and Gustafson came in third place.
Fellow Bruin Hayden Mosher ended up on the shorter end of the stick though, coming in third place for the 195-pounders.
Badua ended up third himself this time around in the 113-pound weight class. His teammate Alex Gowers, the Osbourn Park team captain and only other Yellow Jacket in the finals, came in fifth place for 160 pounders.
Though Battlefield missed out on the gold, Justus Weaver still managed to string together a 3-1 record on his way to a silver in the 145-pound class.
Weaver held tough for the first scoreless minute against Beau Donahue from Westfield. Then, the defending 152-pound state champ caught Weaver's right leg, drug him away from the boundary line and swept him to the ground on his way to an 11 to 3 victory.
Donahue only held a 2 to 1 lead at the start of the second period. That's when he overwhelmed Weaver with multiple take-downs until he built a 9-2 lead in the third period.
At one moment, Weaver appeared to have a chance to make something happen as he grabbed Donahue's right ankle and locked his head with his left arm, but Donahue wouldn't flip, holding himself steady in referee's position until a whistle blow.
Only one other Bobcat placed in the top six at states: sophomore 106-pounder Matt Asper, who ended up in fourth.
Battlefield head coach Brian Shaffer noted that, with Weaver and Asper set to hit the mats again next season, "it's great because we've got two returning state place winners."
"Some people have taken notice this year that we're serious," said Shaffer. "We're out there to win."
Also of note is Hylton's Codie Bowes, who placed sixth in the 170-pound weight class.
In Group AA action, Brentsville's Jeffrey Walker faced Dominion's Brandon Thein in the finals, having topped him during the Region II finals.
Thein scored the first points with a take-down during the final minute of the first round but a reversal by Walker just before the buzzer knotted the score at 2 to 2.
Walker then worked in a half-nelson, and knocked Thein to his shoulder, giving him two points.
After a couple timeouts for blood clean-up on Thein, Walker started in referee's position and then slid his head out from Thein's right shoulder and slid out from under him and on to his back to take a 6 to 2 advantage.
Brentsville's faithful began "Let's go Jeffrey!" chants in the stands with claps as Walker rode out Thein, working on a half nelson, neutralized his head, and held on for the win.
"Once I got on top, I knew I could ride him and turn him and that would help me," said the junior.
Walker, holder of a 49-3 record for the year, stood up and waved his arms into the air twice to the delight of his audience.
"My dad came running down" the stairs, said Walker, who brought about half of the 60-plus Brentsville fans in the stands. "I never saw him run so fast down the stairs."
His 195-pound teammate Zach Roseberry later replicated Walker's feat by claiming his first state title after ending up in the top three the last two years in a row.
"He was nervous," said Walker about his senior teammate. "I just told him, 'Don't be nervous.' ... There's a lot more pressure on him than there was on me."
Roseberry gave up an escape to fall in the whole 1 to 0 but, to cheers of, "Let's go Zaaaach!" coming from the crowd, he scored a take-down of Smithfield's Chuck Sharon, keeping his own feet in bounds while driving all of Sharon outside the boundary circle.
With the score knotted at 2 to 2 in the third period, Roseberry opened up by escaping from the bottom position within second, then shot for a right leg and scored a couple quick points before allowing another escape.
"I made sure I broke him down," said Roseberry.
He secured Sharon's right leg again with 10 seconds to go, helping him solidify a 7 to 3 victory.
"I just threw my arms up like I kicked a field goal or something," said Roseberry of his post-game reaction.
The senior had thrown his hands above his head, flexed and walked in a circle around the mat before receiving a hand shake and a hug from head coach Jess Moore, himself a three-time state champion.
When asked about what went through his mind at the end of the match, Roseberry replied, "'Wow. I just won a state title. This is crazy.' ... Our whole section was just going crazy."
Even though that marked the end of the line for Roseberry's season (50-3 record) and high school career (183-30), the newly-crowned state champ said there is plenty of potential for Brentsville to build on the success of himself and Walker next season.
After all, those marked the first state titles by Tiger wrestlers ever at the Group AA level and the first at all since the team won the Group A title last in 2003.
"I think it'll show kids that it's possible," said Roseberry. "It's definitely possible to win a title... I think the sky's the limit for Brentsville wrestling, no lie."
The other big local showing from the weekend came at the Group A level from Manassas Park as the Cougars sent four into the finals.
Isiah Baker won a close 5 o 4 match against Cole Lowe of Holston at the 160-pound level.
Later, Corey Jenkins served Tyler Gilberson of King William a 7 to 3 defeat to claim the team's other title.
Meanwhile, 120-pounder Gilbert Rodriguez placed second to Strasburg's Nic Campbell and Zac Truetling did the same against Riverheads' Dylan Wade.